How to Check If Your Domain Is on a Spam Blacklist
The worst nightmare of an email marketer is to find themselves on a blacklist. Unfortunately, even if you run clean marketing with a subscriber base collected legally, your domain’s IP address can still get blacklisted.
The good news, however, is that the problem can be fixed. More importantly, you can avoid it in the first place by regularly validating your contact list. The topic is complex and might be overwhelming, so I’d recommend first checking what Brian Minick, COO of ZeroBounce Email Validator, has to say about maintaining a healthy contact base hygiene.
Next thing you need is a domain spam check: see whether your website is currently on the list. There are a number of services you can use to do it:
For example, in Spamhaus, go to Blocklist Removal Center > Domain Lookup Tool and enter your domain’s name. You’ll get instant result.
You may use other services. The procedure will be the same.
How to Remove Your Domain from a Blacklist
If your email domain spam score is high and your domain is blacklisted by any service, it can take several days to weeks to restore your reputation. Typically, the process of restoring is automated. If no emails identified as spam are sent from your domain within 2-3 weeks, your address will most likely be removed from the blacklist.
You can speed the procedure by contacting the corresponding service support. For example, Spamhouse offers a link to a removal request if your website is found listed in the DBL (Domain Block List). To submit it, you need to fill the form and enter your domain and corporate email address. Public addresses in Gmail, Outlook or other email clients are not accepted. If your request is approved, you’ll be notified at the specified address.
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Reasons Why Your Domain Can Be Blacklisted
- Spam complaints. Most often people report you as a spammer if you don’t have email address confirmation (Double Opt-In) or, even worse, send your emails to contacts from a bought list.
- Unavailable unsubscribe link. People may want to unsubscribe for different reasons: your product or service is no longer relevant to them, you send too often or offer irrelevant content. If the unsubscribe link in your emails isn’t visible, is hard to spot or is located in the footer that might be clipped by email clients, the only way out people see is the Spam button that is always upfront.
- Your domain shares with a spammer the same IP. Several sites hosted on the same server may have one IP address. The final identification in this case is conducted by the domain name. And if one of such sites is blacklisted, it can affect other sites as well.
- Errors in email addresses. If you don’t use DOI, your contact list can be full of non-existent addresses. Even if you collect your base the right way (by asking permission), validate it over time and delete inactive contacts. Some of these addresses are no longer used and some could have turned in spam traps.
- Absent or incorrect digital signatures. Email clients use DNS records (DKIM, SPF and DMARC) to verify the authenticity of the sender. Set up an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record so that no spammer is allowed to send emails on behalf of your domain.
- Change of the IP address.
- Sudden sending to multiple contacts. Some marketers start collecting contacts and don’t send anything to new subscribers waiting till the base grows big enough. And then they suddenly start sending multiple campaigns to a huge amount of recipients. This is a bad strategy. First, you need to warm up your domain. Start sending steadily and increase the message limit with time. Also, pay attention to the batch limit. Emails should be sent in parts, for example, 100 emails per hour.
If your domain’s DMARC record isn’t in the strict alignment mode, campaigns can continue to be sent even after the daily limit is exceeded. But campaigns sent over the limit will be signed not by you but by your ESP.
If your DMARC policy isn’t none, (the record doesn’t affect delivery but only provides you with reports), you’ll be able to send only the amount of emails allowed for the current day of warmup. The rest might be rejected as messages that fail DMARC authentication.
In eSputnik, the warmup of the verified domain is automatically monitored. The system counts emails sent each day to commonly used domains such as gmail.com, yahoo.com, mail.ru, etc. It's not allowed to send emails from unverified domains to Microsoft domains (hotmail.com, live.com, msn.com, passport.com, outlook.com) via eSputnik, as these clients strictly monitor the content of emails and users’ response. Content of bad quality worsens your domain reputation.
How to Avoid Being Blacklisted
To avoid the necessity to check if your domain is marked as spam, start to build a good sender reputation from the very start and your emails will be less likely to fail delivery to Inbox.
- Use Double Opt-In. This way you can protect your base from bots, spam traps and invalid addresses. If you started collecting contacts before implementing DOI, ask these people to confirm their addresses.
- Verify your domain.
- Watch after your contact base hygiene. Don’t hesitate to delete contacts who haven’t opened your emails for a long time. Some boxes could have turned into spam traps or ceased to exist. Therefore, it is necessary to clean the base regularly.
- Add a captcha to the subscription form. It will protect you from bots.
- Register with postmasters and monitor your sender reputation.
- Regularly check spam databases.
- Pay attention to the error rate in your reports. In eSputnik, for example, you can see why your delivery failed. If the reason is Message blocked due to spam content in the message, you need to revise your content strategy.
There is no formula that will protect you from getting into a spam list. Nonetheless, you can monitor domain check spam lists and take preventive measures to secure your domain. If it’s blacklisted despite all your efforts, follow the above recommendations and send the request to the corresponding service. They will remove your domain from the list once they see it’s no longer associated with suspicious activity.